Europe and Turkey fail to reach deal on managing humanitarian crisis

The European Trade Union Confederation is strongly critical of the lack of progress in negotiations with Turkey on a Joint Action Plan on Refugees, and the lack of humanity shown in the Council Statement following last night’s summit.  

The EU should not even contemplate paying Turkey to keep refugees in inhumane camps without any prospects”, said Luca Visentini, General Secretary of the ETUC “and there should be no trade-off between keeping refugees out of Europe and accelerated EU membership talks.”

The Statement issued by the Head of States today contains horrible flaws in its analysis and proposals.”

Specifically the ETUC warns the EU and its member states: 

  • Refugees are human beings fleeing from war and seeking international protection;
  • Making refugees a commodity for financial exchange is inhuman and will not result in a more humanitarian response: paying Turkey will not remove the danger which Syrians, Iraqis and others are exposed to in their own countries;
  • The one-to-one scheme (swapping of Syrian refugees) makes no sense and is in violation of international law and EU Treaties.

The first duty of the international community is to give shelter to asylum-seekers” said Visentini. “Despite the heroic efforts of many citizens, the EU is clearly failing to do so.” 

With the number of journalists in jail, the lack of trade union rights, the treatment of the Kurds, and its ambiguous role in the Syrian war there is clearly a long way to go for Turkey to become member of the EU.”

The ETUC has long argued that the international community should invest time and resources to re-establish peace in the Middle East, and EU Member States should work towards the integration of refugees.